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Mint Solar, LLC v. Savage
United States District Court, D. Utah
September 4, 2018
MINT SOLAR, LLC, a Utah limited liability company, and KNIGHT WEST CONSTRUCTION, INC., a Utah corporation, Plaintiffs,
BART SAVAGE, an individual, AARON HALDERMAN, an individual, OLIVIA BLACK, an indivdual, PRIZM ENERGY LLC, a Utah limited liability company, PRIZM ENTERPRISES, LLC, a Utah limited liabilty company, PRIZM HOME LLC, a Utah limited liability company, and DOES 1-10, Defendants. BART J. SAVAGE, an individual, AARON HALDERMAN, an individual, OLIVIA BLACK, an individual, PRIZM ENERGY, LLC a Utah limited liability company, Cross-Complainants,
SCOTT SHUMWAY, an individual; SPENCER SHUMWAY, an individual; SIMON KEOGH, an individual; COLTON CHESTNUT, an individual; BYRON SMITH, an individual; BLAINE THATCHER, an individual; BRENDAN HAYS, an individual; TOMAS REYES, an individual; KNIGHT WEST CONSTRUCTION, INC., a Utah Corporation; MINT ENERGY, LLC, a Utah limited liability company; and MNT HOLDINGS, INC., nominally, and ROES 1-100. Cross-Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION FOR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
STEWART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for an
Order to Show Cause. Plaintiffs request the Court enter an
order directing Defendants to show cause why they should not
be held in contempt. Plaintiffs also seek a sanction of $500
per day for each day Defendants fail to comply with a
previously entered state-court order, along with their
attorney's fees and costs in bringing this Motion. For
the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny the Motion.
matter originated in state court. On July 2, 2018, the state
court entered a Temporary Restraining Order
(“TRO”). Among other things, the TRO required
Defendants to preserve and deliver a copy of all sales
records, financial statements, customer information, and
electronic information and metadata within seven days of the
TRO, or by July 9, 2018.
parties do not dispute that Defendants failed to comply with
the TRO by July 9, 2018. However, Defendants represent that,
on August 10, 2018, they delivered to Plaintiffs' counsel
all records in their possession pursuant to the terms of the
a civil contempt case, the party seeking a citation of
contempt bears a heavy burden.” To prevail on a claim of
civil contempt, a plaintiff must demonstrate the following
elements by clear and convincing evidence: “(1) a valid
court order existed; (2) the defendant had knowledge of the
order; and (3) the defendant disobeyed the
parties dispute whether a valid court order existed. The
Court need not ultimately determine the validity of the TRO.
Even assuming Plaintiffs could meet their substantial burden,
“it is a defense to a claim of civil contempt if the
Defendant takes all reasonable steps and substantially
complies with the court order.” In their Opposition,
Defendants describe the efforts taken to comply with the TRO
and state that they have now provided all of the
documentation required by that order.
reviewed the evidence submitted, the Court finds that
Defendants took all reasonable steps and substantially
complied with the TRO. After Defendants received notice of
the TRO, they worked to obtain counsel, identify the records
that were subject to the TRO, and furnished those records to
their counsel who turned them over to Plaintiffs. At this
point, there is no evidence to suggest that Defendants'
production was somehow deficient. While Defendants failed to
meet the deadline for production established by the TRO,
Defendants took all reasonable steps to comply with that
order and have now apparently done so, thereby absolving them
of their contempt.
Plaintiffs could demonstrate that Defendants were in
contempt, the Court declines to impose the penalty requested
by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs initially requested a sanction of
$500 per day until Defendants comply with the TRO. However,
given Defendants' apparent compliance, Plaintiffs have
narrowed their request to recovery of their attorney's
fees and costs associated with bringing this Motion.
district court has broad discretion in using its contempt
power to require adherence to court
orders.” “Sanctions for civil contempt may
only be employed for either or both of two distinct remedial
purposes: (1) to compel or coerce obedience to a court order
. . .; and (2) to compensate the contemnor's adversary
for injuries resulting from the contemnor's
first type of sanction is not at issue here. “[B]ecause
coercive sanctions seek to avoid the harm threatened by
continued contumacy, the sanctions can remain only until the
contemnor complies with the order.” As Defendants
appear to have complied with the TRO, no coercive sanction is
the Court considers whether a sanction is required to
compensate for Plaintiffs' injuries due to
Defendants' noncompliance. “[I]f a fine is imposed
for compensatory purposes, the amount of the fine must be
based upon the complainant's actual losses sustained as a
result of the contumacy.” “[S]anctions for a civil
contempt may include attorney's fees and
the facts of this case, the Court declines to impose
sanctions for Defendants' failure to comply with the TRO
in the time frame established by the state court. As detailed
in their Opposition, Defendants worked diligently to verify
the validity of the state court proceedings, obtain counsel,
search for and gather the relevant documentation, and provide
it to Plaintiff. While the Court appreciates Plaintiffs'
frustration with Defendants' failure to timely comply, it
appears that this issue could ...